Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, was remembered at his funeral as a child who liked to explore how things worked mechanically.
Monday afternoon's funeral for Noah, a Jewish boy who turned 6 in late November, was the first among the 26 victims of Friday's massacre at the school in Newtown, Conn. The Associated Press reported on memories of Noah's inquisitiveness about things mechanical.
Teddy bears and a bouquet of white flowers accented by a single red rose were placed at the base of a maple tree outside the Abraham L. Green and Son Funeral Home in Fairfield, Conn., Fox News reported.
In advance of the funeral, the family's synagogue began collecting money for the Pozners.
Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown, Conn., posted a notice on its website announcing that it was accepting money to help support the Pozners “during this terrible time.” It also recommended two charities for the other victims: United Way of Western Connecticut and Everribbon.com.
Among the messages of condolence pouring in for the victims of the school shooting were letters from Israeli leaders.
“On behalf of the people of Israel, as friends and as parents, we stand with you today in contemplation and grief over the atrocious, incomprehensible massacre of 20 children and six adults — educators — at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Israeli President Shimon Peres wrote to President Obama. “No experience with death can be likened to that of a parents’ loss of their child. No crime is more heinous than the killing of a child.”
Twenty children and six school employees were killed when Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into the school building and opened fire. Lanza killed himself at the school.
Prior to the school shootings, Lanza, who had attended the Sandy Hook school, killed his mother, Nancy, in the Newtown home they shared.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported that Noah's twin sister also is a student at Sandy Hook but survived the shooting.
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Temple Adath Israel in Newtown told NPR Weekend Edition host Scott Simon that he spent Friday, which he termed “the day from hell,” consoling Noah's mother, who is a member of the synagogue.
“I told the mother that was grieving that I personally believe in the eternity of the soul, and I believe that she will see her son again,” Praver said. “Other than that theological comment, the rest of it was getting her to think about taking a breath and not trying to plan the rest of her life out right now because she says, 'What am I going to do without my baby?' “
Praver was among the clergy, social workers and psychologists who arrived at a firehouse near the school where many of the victims and their families congregated after the shooting. On Saturday morning, Adath Israel held a community prayer service.
In response to the question of why such tragedies happen, Praver replied, “I don't know the answer to that. I never try to present a theological answer to that. I think what's more important is to have compassion, humanity and hold someone's hand and hug them and cry with them.”
Praver, who ended his NPR interview with a plea for listeners to pray for the families affected, also said that another friend of the congregation was killed.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on SUnday that she will introduce a bill on the first day that Congress returns to session in January to ban the sale of assault weapons and the sale of clips of more than ten bullets,.
“I’m going to introduce it in the Senate, and the same bill will be introduced in the House,” Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”